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Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Caperdonich 34 year old 1972 Lonach Collection

Duncan Taylor's 30-45 year old Lonach Collection whiskies were still easily available for a song one decade ago. And I never bought one. I remember a Bunnahabhain, Glendarroch (Glenfarclas), and a blend, all older than me (at the time), all cheaper than teenage Macallans, all bottled below 43%abv. That last point must have been what stopped me from picking up all of them from BevMo or Total Wine. It seemed like the Lonach label was there for Duncan Taylor to dump casks that were about to fade into "Spirit Drink" territory. It was until a few years later that I started hearing tales of the terrific old Lonach Highland Parks, Tomatins, Strathislas, Glen Grants, and Caperdonichs. By then the shelves had been cleared.

Four years ago, I reviewed a 35yo 1970 Glen Grant Lonach. Today, another Lonach, this time a bottling from Duncan Taylor's famous stash of 1972 Caperdonichs. Three of these Capers were rolled out in the Lonach fashion, with this cask bearing the highest ABV, 43%. I tried it alongside Monday's great SMWS 1979, in what turned out to be a decent evening.

Distillery: Caperdonich
Region: Speyside (Rothes)
Distiller: Seagram Distillers
Bottler: Duncan Taylor
Series: Lonach Collection
Age: 34 years (1972 - 2007)
Maturation: ???
Outturn: ??? bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 43%
(from a bottle split)


Immediately, the nose reminds me of very old Cognac. Loquats, apricots, and orange blossoms first. Then peach pie and eucalyptus. It holds out in the glass for well over an hour, releasing quieter notes of black walnuts, Frangelico, and strawberry jello over that time.

The palate has everything. Sweet stone fruits (apricots again), tart citrus (kabosu), unsmoked mild cigar, bitter cocoa, a lean minerality, and mizunara-style spice. A gentle smokiness arises after an hour.

Most of the palate's elements stick around for the surprisingly lengthy finish, with the apricots, bitter cocoa, minerals, and a tangier citrus lasting longest.


At times reading more expansive than Monday's 55.3%abv pour, this calm, complex, and deeply moreish Caperdonich whispers delights of long-aged spirits from another era. My goodness, I am grateful my senses of smell and taste returned after their brief absence. Even my allergies stepped aside to let me enjoy this whisky, my last Caperdonich sample.

Availability - ???
Pricing - ???
Rating - 91